Destination: Italy: Venice
Venice isn’t known for cutting-edge interior design, so the opening of Palazzina Grassi, in 2009, was big news. Created by French designer extraordinaire Philippe Starck (his first Italy hotel), the property is located in a 19th-century palazzo whose interiors have been envisioned in 21st-centry style. Art lovers will take note of the unique glasswork by Murano-based Aristide Najean throughout, while the beautiful crowd will appreciate the nearly 300 back-lit mirrors throughout.
The lobby is tiny and spills right into the groovy restaurant-lounge-bar area, which is open all day and makes a particularly good spot for an afternoon break, especially during colder months (the dim lighting and dark materials imbue a cozy vibe). While the common spaces are clad in dark wood, exposed brick and dramatic chandeliers, the sixteen rooms and six apartment suites are studies in minimalist chic. The rooms feature a mostly white-on-white color scheme, with oversized mirrors, striking glass wardrobes, smooth leather couches, cool light fixtures and all the techie requirements (iPod docks, WiFi and flatscreen televisions, some of which are built into the mirrors). The best rooms are those that overlook the Grand Canal, though the ones with a view of the surrounding rooftops are romantic as well.
Perhaps the biggest perk about staying at Palazzina Grassi is access to the rooftop lounge, which must be one of Venice’s most exclusive spots for aperitifs. And of course, the location can’t be beat: in walking distance to the major sites and museums, but tucked away from the major tourist drags. Even Johnny Depp was seduced by the Palazzina’s mix of discretion and design: he stayed here during the filming of the Angelina Jolie film, The Tourist. Rooms from €350.
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